International trade agreements bring new transnational food companies into countries, along with new food advertising and promotion.
This has often led to an increase in unhealthy foods entering the domestic market. But an agreement currently being negotiated could go even further and increase the influence of the food industry on domestic regulatory regimes and policies.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been under negotiation since 2010, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. (Japan has recently joined the negotiating table but China is notably absent.)
More than any other trade agreement, the TPP is focused on economic integration, investment and the rights of investors, which, for the most part, are international corporations.
Opening up domestic markets influences national diets by altering the availability, quality, price and desirability of foods. And that raises concerns about under-nutrition, obesity and chronic diseases.
There is concern the TPP will invoke the same risks to nutrition and health as existing multilateral and free trade agreements – through tariff reductions, encouragement of foreign investment and enhanced intellectual property rights for corporations.
On the face if it, reductions in barriers to trade should increase consumer food choices and improve supply for net-food importing countries. But trade liberalisation through multilateral and free-trade agreements has traditionally resulted in disproportionately large increases in imports and domestic production of foods that are high in saturated fat, highly processed, calorie-rich and nutrient-poor.
In a number of the Pacific Island nations, for instance, multilateral and regional trade agreements have undermined domestic agriculture and created a strong reliance on imports. This has led to high levels of fat consumption through cheap imports of margarine, butter, meat, chickens and canned meat.
The Central America-USA Free Trade Agreement has promoted greater availability of highly processed foods in Central American countries, by facilitating more imports. And similar trends have been observed with the lowering of trade barriers between Mexico and the United States following the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Indeed, research has demonstrated that greater foreign direct investment through trade agreements with the United States significantly increases the consumption of soft drinks within the signatory country, magnifying the risk of chronic diseases.
The TPP may go even further by giving companies more power than other agreements. The Australian government has noted “the TPP is more than a traditional trade agreement; it will also deal with behind-the-border impediments to trade and investment.” The way in which these behind-the-border impediments to trade and investment will be addressed could create significant risks for a healthy food supply.
The Trans Pacific Partnership is likely to provide stronger investor protections and enable greater (food) industry involvement in policy-making. It could lead to sweeping changes to domestic regulatory systems, and open up new opportunities for companies to appeal against domestic policies they consider to be a violation of their privileges under the agreement.
Together, these changes would weaken the ability for governments to protect public health by, for example, limiting imports and domestic manufacturing of unhealthy foods and drinks.
At the 15th round of negotiations in Auckland last December, the Malaysian government – supported by the United States – reportedly suggested restricting the amount of information food companies would be required to provide about ingredients and formulae of processed food products.
These sorts of proposals raise concerns about consumer access to information about food products, as well as the ability of governments to regulate food labelling on public health grounds. Measures like that one will undermine health policy goals and extend the control of the food industry over domestic policy.
Re-balancing food industry influence in the negotiation process with input from the health sector is vital.
Public health advocates and health policymakers must engage with trade negotiations to preserve policy space for public health goals before the window of opportunity closes.
Sharon Friel receives funding from the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Deborah Gleeson receives funding from the Australian Research Council. She is a member of the Public Health Association of Australia and active in the People's Health Movement.
Libby Hattersley does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 at 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Acton Theatre, Level 1, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU
Since 1983, political conflict has increasingly come to focus on the short term. Without systemic change, this undermining of effective political and policy capacity can embed destructive cynicism and untrusting disengagement. more»
The College has excelled in the latest round of QS World University rankings with four disciplines ranked in the top ten in the world.
Politics and International Studies, which retained the top Australian ranking, has climbed four places to number six in the world. History has maintained its 7th world ranking and top Australian ranking.
Linguistics is still ranked 9th in the world and second in Australia, and Philosophy, which is ranked 10th in the world, is still number one in Australia.
Wednesday, 8 May 2013 at 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Haydon Allen G052 (Quadrangle, near ANU Union), Australian National University
There have been a number of well-intentioned media and communications programs rolled out by the Australian Government in recent years that have imposed one-size-fits-all solutions onto remote Indigenous Australia. more»
Tuesday, 7 May 2013 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Theatre 3, Manning Clark Centre, Union Court, ANU
The reputations of artists are curious things, influenced by factors beyond the quality of the work. Affairs of the Art explores the role their benefactors play in burnishing an artist's reputation after he or she dies. more»
The Reserve Bank of Australia should leave interest rates unchanged this month according to the consensus of Shadow Reserve Board members.
Amid market uncertainty over whether the RBA board may choose to cut Australia’s cash rates or maintain the current cash rate of 3.00%, some of the nine Shadow Board members see evidence for lower rates now, and in the future.
But others feel that a gradual tightening to a more neutral policy stance, following the recent period of monetary accommodation, remains the prudent path for Australia.
Retail data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed spending fell 0.4% in March from February. But nevertheless it was slightly higher than expected over the March quarter.
Despite disagreement over the appropriate direction for interest rates in the future, support for holding rates this month remains strong at about 60%; the Reserve Bank of Australia should bide their time, and wait for stronger evidence.
Paul Bloxham, Chief Economist of HSBC Bank Australia said he believed lower rates could risk inflating “excessive growth” in housing prices, which have been flat in most capital cities following a brief rally earlier this year.
Shadow Board member Professor Warwick McKibbin has also warned Australia risks a sharp exchange rate correction leading to a rebound in inflation if foreign investors lose their appetite for the Australian dollar, currently trading at 1.03 US cents.
Professor McKibbin said a softer currency would help sectors such as manufacturing, which according to Australian Industry Group’s April Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) slumped to the same levels experienced in the global financial crisis.
But he said it could also “raise imported inflation and push the inflation rate well above the target band, especially given the currently high rate of non-traded goods inflation”.
The CAMA Shadow Board is comprised of influential economists from the private sector and academia. They were asked to rank their preferred settings for the cash rate.
Paul Bloxham, Chief Economist (Australia and New Zealand), HSBC Bank Australia Ltd:
Inflation is low enough to allow the RBA to cut rates further if needed. But rates are already very low and there are signs that monetary policy is working. Lower rates could also risk creating other problems, such as excessive growth in housing prices. While a further cut in rates could be needed to support growth at some point, I think there are enough signs that the setting of monetary policy is getting enough traction to warrant leaving the cash rate steady this month.
Mark Crosby, Associate Professor, Melbourne Business School:
Low inflation outcomes suggests little need for change to current settings at the May meeting. International factors currently seem stable, though unlikely that Europe will last another six months before the next country crumbles.
Mardi Dungey, Professor, University of Tasmania, CFAP University of Cambridge, CAMA:
The weakening economy has caused me to lower my expectations of future inflationary pressures and hence alter my longer term projections. However, I recommend retaining the current stance in May.
Saul Eslake, Chief Economist, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Australia:
Bob Gregory, Professor Emeritus, RSE, ANU, Professorial Fellow, Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University, Adjunct Professor, School of Economics & Finance, Queensland University of Technology:
Warwick McKibbin, Chair in Public Policy in the ANU Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA) in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University:
There are clearly weak patches in the Australian economy driven by a strong currency, high input costs, the end of the first stage of the resources boom and uncertainty about government policy. These factors together with a deteriorating fiscal position suggest greater future fiscal drag on the economy as the excessive spending which has driven structural fiscal deficits will have to be cut back. The economy is particularly vulnerable to an inconvenient set of conditions, some of which were preventable. There are many uncertainties for monetary policy to balance.
Apart from attempting to accommodate fiscal negligence and the uncertainty about the nature of policies generally after the September election, in the near term the major issue is whether foreign investors will continue to want to hold $A assets and therefore keep the exchange rate a high level. A loss of foreign investor appetite will cause a sharp exchange rate correction which, while good for some sectors of the economy, would raise imported inflation and push the inflation rate well above the target band especially given the currently high rate of non-traded goods inflation.
Cutting interest rates in the face of rising inflation of goods and/or asset prices would undermine monetary credibility and risks unhinging inflationary expectations. Holding interest rates is the least bad option in this complex environment.
James Morley, Professor, University of New South Wales, CAMA:
Inflation is slightly higher than last quarter, but is right in the middle of its target range at 2.5% (up from 2.2% in Q4 2012). Meanwhile, the unemployment rate increased from 5.4% to 5.6% in March. The weaker labour market conditions, due to less growth in employment than new participants in the labour force, remove any immediate tightening bias in monetary policy. However, the need to gradually adjust the policy rate back to its neutral level over the medium term remains in place, although any further weakening of the labour market should delay this adjustment.
Jeffrey Sheen, Professor and Head of Department of Economics, Macquarie University, Editor, The Economic Record, CAMA:
There were more signs in April that the long global growth slowdown will persist longer, particularly with China growing slower than many expected. This has affected commodity prices and thus consumer confidence in Australia. The small rise in unemployment to 5.6% and the fall in the participation rate to 65.1% were further signs of the continuing weak recovery here.
The Federal budget is due on May 13, and this may well have a contractionary effect if the government is determined to severely limit the expected deficit. However, given the coming election, it would be surprising if that remained true. Taking all of this into account, and noting that the real cash rate is 0.5%, monetary policy is sufficiently loose now to justify the highest probability recommendation of no change. Six months and one year out, the probabilities skew towards a slow improvement in conditions, and thus towards moderate increases in the interest rate towards its neutral value.
Mark Thirlwell, Director, International Economy Program, Lowy Institute for International Policy:
Shaun Vahey receives funding from the ARC via a Linkage grant, with the RBA as a partner organization.
Monday, 6 May 2013 at 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Lecture Theatre 1, Hedley Bull Centre (bldg #130), Corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
School of Philosophy lecture - Inaugural Lecture by Philip Pettit. more»
Visiting American artist Michele Marti has brought her playful furniture designs to the ANU School of Art where she is working on her experimental “Franken-Furniture” series.
The Californian upholsterer and designer salvages Victorian-style furniture frames and combines them in new designs that force users into unusual positions.
“I try and force people to sit in a certain direction so that there’s an interaction between the bodies,” Ms Marti said.
Clive Palmer’s China First Coal Project is entering the last stages of review for its proposed coal mine in Queensland’s Bimblebox Nature Refuge. As part of the Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), the proposal suggests protecting about two hectares of remnant bush for every one hectare of the nature refuge that is affected by the mine. That sounds like we’re getting two for one – but biodiversity offsets aren’t that simple.
Biodiversity offsetting is an increasingly popular means to balance out the impact developments have on the environment. Just as many of us will purchase a carbon offset to compensate for the emissions we generate when we take an overseas flight, biodiversity offsetting aims for “no net loss” of biodiversity values from a development project.
Like carbon offsets, biodiversity offsetting is a controversial topic. Recent media in the UK has highlighted how contentious it can be, with the UK government’s trial of its new biodiversity offsetting scheme decried by some as “a license to trash nature”.
One of the problems for biodiversity offsetting is working out whether “no net loss” is actually being achieved. Despite the widespread and growing use of offsets, very little evidence is available to demonstrate what those offsets deliver.
A recent paper is one of few to evaluate the outcomes from a biodiversity offset. When frog habitat was destroyed during development in Sydney Olympic Park, more habitat was created as an offset. The authors monitored the population size of the vulnerable green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea) before and after development. They found that an area of habitat 19 times larger than the habitat area affected had to be created to ensure there was a no net loss of frogs.
This is an example of an offset working. But the amount of habitat that had to be created relative to the habitat lost (known as the “offset ratio”) was 19:1 – much greater than initially expected, and this was only discovered after intensive monitoring over more than a decade.
Often, proposed offset ratios are closer to 2:1, such as what has been proposed for the loss of the 8,000 hectare Bimblebox Nature Refuge. Is this enough? We can estimate whether an offset ratio is likely to be sufficient by calculating its conservation benefit.
To do this, we need to know two things: what is the risk the offset habitat would be lost if we don’t protect it? And what is the risk of its loss if we do protect it?
We’ll assume that the risk of loss of the offset site is about 1% over the next 20 years (based on the current rate of loss of remnant vegetation in Queensland). If the offset site is protected, we assume the risk of loss is zero (although this might be a bit optimistic).
The difference between the expected area of the offset site with protection, and the expected area of the offset site without protection, must equal the impact of 8,000 ha if we are to achieve no net loss. Based on this model, about 800,000 hectares would need to be protected to offset the loss of Bimblebox Nature Refuge. That means an offset ratio closer to 100:1!
Is two for one enough? http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1442-8903.2007.00328.x/abstract
We make a number of assumptions to get this figure, like the risk of losing a patch of remnant bush if is unprotected or protected. If, for example, we had considered regrowth vegetation with its 20-year risk of loss at about 10%, this would bring the offset ratio down closer to 10:1 (although the quality of the offset would be lower).
But even with the most generous assumptions, a simple exchange of two hectares protected for every hectare destroyed is unlikely to achieve a no net loss outcome in our example. Unfortunately this illustrates that in many cases, we are pushing the limits of what can realistically be considered “offsettable”.
With any major development, the proponent must detail in its Environmental Impact Statement how threatened environmental values contained within the project area (in this case, within Bimblebox) are to be avoided, mitigated, rehabilitated or offset. The total sum of offsets required by State and Federal policies for individual environmental values, such as the black-throated finch and the koala, may provide a very large offset area when combined. But without calculating the conservation benefit of offsets like we have here, its not clear whether it will be enough to achieve no net loss.
If the China First Coal Project goes ahead, it will be the first time an entire protected area is lost to development in Australia, so there’s currently no policy that requires an offset for a protected area in its own right. Based on our example, a 2:1 offset would likely not achieve the “no net loss” standard for the loss of Bimblebox Nature Refuge.
Ultimately, governments can revoke the protected status of any conservation area, and compensation isn’t necessarily required. The question is whether the Australian public considers the loss of publicly-funded conservation areas to be a fair exchange for the benefits provided by a development. But to make this judgement, we need to fully understand and acknowledge the limitations of biodiversity offsetting. Otherwise, we may unknowingly accept an exchange that could result in the loss of effectively irreplaceable biodiversity.
Megan Evans receives funding from an Australian Postgraduate Award and a CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship Scholarship. She is affiliated with the National Environmental Research Program's Environmental Decisions Hub.
Martine Maron receives funding from the Australian Research Council. She is affiliated with The National Environmental Research Program's Environmental Decisions Hub.
Given its long association with the Commonwealth, it is no surprise that Sri Lanka is hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in November this year.
These biannual meetings are normally not controversial. But in principle they do provide a forum to discuss the political problems of their members, especially those which appear to challenge understood democratic principles. In the past these discussions have been influential in the dismantling of the apartheid system in South Africa.
Sri Lanka’s record on human rights is currently the subject of international consternation after a recent Amnesty International report detailed widespread government-sanctioned repression against journalists, political opponents and human rights activists.
Australia’s position on a possible boycott of CHOGM is the conventional one of denying the validity of public criticisms of Commonwealth members. Australia has a strong interest in collaborating with the Sri Lankan government in the exchange of information about asylum seekers and controlling the departure of their boats from Negombo and other Sri Lankan ports.
Sri Lankan soldiers in 2009, patrolling Mullaitivu in the final days of the war against the Tamil Tigers. EPA/STR
Sri Lanka has just completed a long running civil war with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, a militarised body favouring secession and based on the Tamil minority which has shared Sri Lanka with the Sinhalese majority for over a thousand years.
Such wars cannot be conducted without suspending many democratic principles and practices, or without the deaths of many citizens at the hands of government forces. This war ended in a massacre of uncounted numbers of Tamils at the final battle on the east coast. Warfare on this scale had not previously broken out in Sri Lanka. Independence was gained without an armed struggle, although there were serious youth revolts more recently.
Despite the brutal nature of civil war, most Commonwealth governments would accept that the state must be protected and maintained when attacked by insurrectionists. That is the position of the Sri Lanka government of Mahinda Rajapakse, which was returned with a large majority at the last election.
CHOGM might normally have accepted the position that the Tamil Tigers were terrorists who had to be defeated. This appears to be the position of the Australian government. Tamils, seeking refuge in Australia following the end of the war, have often been returned to Sri Lanka for their part in the revolt or have failed to get an ASIO security clearance for the same reason.
CHOGM members are reluctant to intervene in or speak out on the domestic affairs of other members. However, with Sri Lanka this time around this has not been the case. Canada has led the criticism, with its conservative government advocating a boycott in the face of a serious rebuke of the Rajapakse government. Canada hosts the largest number of Tamil refugees outside India and they are a significant force in Canadian politics.
However, Canada is not alone in criticising the Sri Lankan government. India too is less than happy. Continuing evidence of suppression of criticism and civil rights come daily from Sri Lanka, and many Tamils are still interned in camps, while military forces are stationed in Tamil areas in large and aggressive numbers. Deaths of journalistic critics have become commonplace. Both the United Nations and a range of NGOs have consistently criticised the lack of a post war reconciliation and the restoration of liberal institutions.
The expatriate communities in Australia are divided between Sinhalese who mostly support the Sri Lankan government and Tamils who are unhappy about it. Supporters of the Rajapakse government point to an economic revival and growing economy. However growth is also marked in the armed forces, now numbering over 400,000 and located largely in Tamil areas.
Apart from the post-war repression – which is understandable to some extent – a more ominous development has been the growth of Sinhala Buddhist racism, often led by Buddhist monks. This has directed violence against the small Muslim community and some Christian churches. From once being a multicultural and multireligious society living in relative harmony, Sri Lanka is in danger of becoming culturally oppressive.
Sri Lanka’s long association with the Commonwealth began as a Crown Colony of the British Empire from 1802 until its independence in 1948. During that time it developed political institutions based on British principles including universal suffrage from 1931 and regular parliamentary elections. Its adherence to principles such as the rule of law and of the equality of all citizens before the law was central to its political values.
Thus Sri Lanka was, and is, an unquestioned member of the Commonwealth. Unlike states such as Ireland, Burma, Pakistan, Fiji or South Africa, Sri Lanka has never left this association nor been suspended from it.
These dramatic abuses of human rights need airing, however. Whether CHOGM is the right place to do so could mean Australian representatives are faced with a serious dilemma.
James Jupp has no financial interest in the subject of this article, is not in receipt of any funding for its production, has not received any public grants for several years and is not a member of any organisation directly involved in its subject matter.
A few months ago I was invited to a small gathering organised by executives from a large international airline (one you most certainly have heard of). About a dozen of us were there and the mix was varied: reps from CASA, Airservices Australia, Sydney airport, various banks and so on. The airline wanted to discuss parts of their strategic plan and a lively discussion ensued.
Before the presentation took place, I had a chat with some of the people around the room and I came across this banker who seemed particularly agitated. “This is my first one of these,” I say. “What should I expect?”. He replies with: “Well, you never know with these airlines. I still don’t know how they manage to stay in business after all these years without making any MONEY!”
Truth is, the airline that organised the gathering was doing quite well but most would agree with him – airlines don’t have the best record as profit-making organisations. Just last March, Warren Buffett claimed that the airline industry has “all the ingredients of a bad business”.
However, although the companies that are flying passengers from A to B (i.e. the airlines) don’t always do well financially, the large corporations selling them the planes (i.e. the aircraft manufacturers) are for the most part showing healthy numbers. There is clearly a discrepancy between the aircraft buyers (or leasers) and the aircraft makers – but why? How come these two inter-linked industries seem to fare so differently?Aircraft orders taking off
The commercial aerospace industry can be broken down into two main components: the companies that make the aircraft – commonly referred as the OEM (Originial Equipment Manufacturer); and the airlines (the customers acquiring the planes). Most people could name at least two OEMs: The Boeing Company and Airbus (which is a subsidiary of EADS). Other OEMs include Bombardier Aerospace, Embraer, Gulf Stream and many others.
Boeing 787 being assembled. Boeing
Boeing and Airbus have both broken several industry records in the last couple of years in terms of aircraft orders. Last year, Boeing took the largest commercial aviation order in its history for the delivery of 230 planes worth a combined A$22.4 billion to Indonesian carrier Lion Air. Also last year, Southwest Airlines placed an order for 208 single-aisle Boeing aircraft worth $19 billion while Norwegian Air Shuttle purchased 122 Boeing 737 aircraft for around A$11 billion. More recently, Airbus landed a massive order from Lion Air worth A$18 billion for 234 A320 jets. Airbus has even said it may have to ask for increased flexibility from its customers to cope with the incoming orders aiming for 750 plane orders in 2013.
These large OEMs are also strengthening their position by absorbing some of the maintenance work previously done by maintenance repair and overhaul companies (commonly referred to as MROs). These companies are also struggling as the amount of aircraft maintenance work required is decreasing due to new technological advances, (including advanced materials, as previously discussed in The Conversation).
Some of the large OEMs have another advantage: their military portfolio. Defence projects are immensely important to many of the OEMs' bottom line and some of the resulting project outcomes do eventually trickle down to commercial aviation. However, military budgets are being tightened as shown by flat defence revenues through the first nine months of 2012 at the global level, and global economic challenges in the near future will likely result in additional decreases in revenue.
OEMs are also consolidating their place in the market by strengthening their position through mergers. Over the past 20 years, over 6000 mergers and acquisitions totalling a value of more than A$600 billion took place worldwide. Airlines are experiencing a similar phenomenon by merging or forging alliances as best shown by last month’s ACCC approval for the Qantas-Emirates partnership and Virgin Australia’s move to acquire a majority stake in Tiger Airways.
The number of airlines has skyrocketed in the US and Europe since deregulation in the 1990s. Flickr/MomentsForZenA battle between legacy airlines and new emerging players
The aviation industry is notoriously difficult with large capital and operating costs, high fuel costs and increasing competition at a global scale. In Australia, it is also particularly exposed to the rising dollar.
The memories of the Ansett’s agony to bankruptcy are still in most people’s mind although one does not need to look that far back, as shown by last year’s Air Australia collapse.
Looking at the latest half-yearly results, Qantas showed a statutory profit of A$111 million for the six months ending in December 2012 but it suffered a 34% fall in earnings from domestic business travel with Virgin Australia increasingly competing in the corporate travel sector. Virgin Australia is also hurting with a net profit that decreased by half to A$23 million according to the latest half-yearly numbers.
On the international front, Qantas International reported a loss of A$91 million, although it will be interesting to see how the Qantas-Emirates partnership will impact Qantas International earnings in the years to come. But with both airlines ramping up capacity on domestic travel – in attempt to eat into the competition’s market share – the supply is exceeding demand and flying empty seats may result in future losses.
Airlines operating in Australia are hardly the only ones facing challenges. The collapses of long-established carriers such as Spain’s Spanair and American Airlines underscore the grim financial reality the industry faces. In the past nine years, airlines as a whole suffered an aggregate loss of US$47.9 billion.
However, Berkeley economist and commercial aviation expert Severin Borenstein believes that high taxes and fuel costs play a minor role in airline operations. The major drivers are related to fluctuations in demand, government policy and the large cost differential between legacy airlines and new low-cost carriers.
These low-cost airlines are strengthening their position in the market as shown by Ryanair’s recent order for 175 new Boeing planes. Legacy airlines have responded accordingly and the difference in price and service between legacy airlines and low cost carriers is becoming increasingly narrow.
Demand to use airways has been steadily increasing since the 1970s an the rapid growth in Asia will translate into demand for thousands of new aircraft over the next decades as forecasts by both Airbus and Boeing show.
While airlines in “legacy markets” are struggling to beat an increasing competition, the OEMs are indeed adapting to new market movements by servicing customers from emerging markets.
Hamza Bendemra does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
Language as emblem and language as means of communication: The significance for language and educational policies
Wednesday, 1 May 2013 at 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Haydon Allen G052 (Quadrangle, near ANU Union), Australian National University
This paper discusses the differences between languages as emblems and as means of communication. more»
Dr Marc Oxenham (centre) at the cemetery site in Northern Vietnam
An archaeological dig led by Dr Marc Oxenham from The Australian National University’s School of Archaeology and Anthropology has uncovered possibly the earliest cemetery site in Southeast Asia.
Contemporary jeweller Melinda Young will present a talk focussing on her exhibition, Life in Your Hands – art from solastalgia, currently on show at CraftACT: Craft and Design Centre. She will discuss the relationship of this work to her broader practice, which is concerned with how craft and design can attempt to combat ‘solastalgia’ within communities. This phenomenon has been identified by Professor Glenn Albrecht as ‘the homesickness you have when you haven’t left home’ and is a result of environmental stresses produced by the impact of coal mining, power station pollution and major bushfires.
Enquiries: Waratah Lahy on 61259356
It was while trawling through the files of the Communist International that Associate Professor Kevin Windle stumbled upon the captivating story of Captain Alexander Zuzenko.
“I thought this was fascinating. I read his reports with disbelief. It seemed too good a story to turn down.”
A flood of congratulation emails and messages on Facebook last Friday morning was the first Distinguished Professor David Chalmers knew that he had joined a select group of Australian academics.
Professor Chalmers is only the third ANU academic and 15th Australian academic to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“I was especially pleased to be elected along with two other Australian philosophers with ANU connections: Michael Smith (now at Princeton) and Rae Langton (now at Cambridge University), both formerly from ANU.
Contributors have been invited based on their experience researching and writing about contact rock art in their respective countries and also for their interest in moving contact rock art research away from purely description-based studies towards a more theoretically-grounded area of specialisation within rock art studies.Conference aims
The conference aims are:
- To share international perspectives on rock art depicting/representing contact between different cultural groups.
- To explore different approaches to the interpretation of contact rock art.
- To highlight similarities, differences and themes in the nature of representing ‘contact’ in different parts of the world and at different times.
- To discuss options for promoting the study and protection of contact rock art globally.
This symposium will include a field trip for presenters to meet local Aboriginal Traditional Owners and visit important contact rock art sites in Kakadu National Park and western Arnhem Land.More information